You might think it would be a gift from the Godz to be a supertaster but there is a distinct downside to this genetic endowment.
If you are a supertaster, you’ll hate sugar and all sweet foods and most fruits and vegetables. For a supertaster, tasting broccoli is like tasting it multiplied by a factor of 10. So if you hated broccoli at the outset you would hate it 10 times as horribly.
To be a supertaster, regular milk tastes like heavy cream. Supertasters don’t like fat or greasy foods because they contain large molecules that press heavily on the nerves found in their taste pores. Supertasters are thus deprived of the joys of KFC, and even an occasional banana split. (This is no small tragedy.)
The American Association of Advanced Science tells us that the tongues of thin people are more likely to be packed with thousands of taste buds, the exact number of which is genetically determined like inheriting curly hair or brown eyes. Having a bunch of extra sensors on your tongue can be compared with having extra mini microphones in your ears. Sure you can hear what that person is saying about you, but you might not like what you hear.
Humans are unable to control appetite, unlike all other creatures on earth. Almost everyone can detect sweetness in 1 part in 200, salt in 1 part in 400, and bitterness in 1 part in 200,000. Odor can be detected by taste buds even when diluted to 1 in a trillion. The bad news here is that 64% of everyone’s taste buds are lost by age 30. The good news is that our ability to taste outlasts all the other senses. If it tastes good we keep eating it.
If I read on the menu that the lasagna had four cheeses, I could be totally fooled. I wouldn’t be able to tell if it had three or five. A supertaster would be able to identify each cheese and every herb or spice and every other nuance of flavor.
A sommelier can differentiate between literally hundreds of wines. A chef is as dependent on taste perception to earn a living. A great chef is as skilled as a great painter in arriving at a taste palette to please the palate.
Nestle and Cadbury employ chewing gum tasters. A good living can be had by tasting cheese, olive oil, coffee, tea, ice cream, cookies, strawberry jam, barbecue sauce, chocolate, yogurt and dozens of processed foods.
There has been a boom in employment for research chefs who develop tastes. And they now have an association to call their own. It is the Research Chefs Association or RCA. Nation’s Restaurant News trade magazine reported: “You may think it’s fairly intuitive to bring chefs on board when you’re make food but doing just that has become standard practice. More and more chefs are being hired by big business because the companies need a culinary edge as they walk that fine line between being able to mass-produce foods and keeping with what’s going on in the culinary world.”
You can make a lovely juicy salary as a supertaster–providing you first choose your parents carefully.